Tuesday, October 13, 2009

If You Are at the Table But Still on the Menu....

Anonymous Senate Finance Committee Staffer

... You must be dining with cannibals. The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial on how all the groups that were cooperating with the Democrats are coming to realize they will be totally screwed by the Baucus bill, and that is even before Harry Reid casts his magic incantation over the whole witches' brew. Why do people think selling out one's principles will ever buy anything worthwhile? There is something for everyone:

In a deal cut earlier this year, the insurance industry acquiesced to rules requiring them to take all comers, regardless of health status or history, and also charge them more or less the same premiums. In return, Congress would subsidize individuals to buy their products and provide new customers by requiring everyone to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty...
...But without this brute tax force, healthier people will opt out of expensive insurance pools and only buy coverage when they need it. It doesn't take a consulting firm to prove that this is an adverse-selection disaster waiting to happen.


The doctors lobby had endorsed the House health bill because it eliminated the "sustainable growth rate," or SGR, a formula that automatically reduces Medicare payments to doctors when costs run too high....
...Yet eliminating the SGR will cost some $245 billion, and Mr. Baucus wanted to preserve the fiction that his new entitlement will reduce the deficit. So to game the 10-year budget math, he patches the problem only for a single year.

Speaking of providers, the hospitals agreed to $155 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cutbacks, on the theory that they, like the insurers, would also make the revenue up on volume. But since the coverage mandate has become swiss cheese, both the Federation of American Hospitals and the American Hospital Association are also growing more combative behind the scenes.
Of course you, as taxpayer and patient, were always on the menu, that goes without saying because you don't have big bucks to lobby the administration.